As world travelers and photographers, Henderson Productions joined forces with our friends from Poggio Amorelli B&B to explore culinary France. Master Chef contestant Angela Perkins contacted chefs in five distinct regions and asked us to design and document the trip. We knew it would be a journey for our senses: to see, taste, smell and touch France. Above all else, we aimed to enjoy the adventure. We are delighted to report those goals were met and more. Along the way many chefs gave us permission to include their recipes to help you recreate some of our experiences. We invite you to appreciate the bounty of their gifts. Bon Appetit et Bon Voyage.
A leisurely morning near Mont Saint Michel at our gite in the tiny village of Guiberol (Gee-bear-oil) gave us time for a catch up. While the others slowly woke, I went for a singing stroll up the lanes with my camera, singing away about “new mown hay gives me hay fever”. The cows didn’t seem to mind.
The whole of Normandy has been a lesson in a simpler way of life. Our two accommodations (so far) were clean and sparely furnished with little or no wall decorations. The first, inside the city of Bayeux was clearly a suburban house – maybe Grandma’s? – that has been vacated and is now a rental. Excellently located, it gave us access to both the offerings in the city and straight out to our D-Day locations.
As for decoration, the walls were all covered in various wall papers – grass cloth on the way up the stairs, subtle stripes in the bedroom, delicate florals in the bathroom and other guest room, and a monochromatic textured white on white in the living room. The dining room was light yellow. We had more than everything we could need in dishware and appliances and could easily have settled in for a week or more had we been so inclined. The big benefit was location.
Contrast our first with our second with the only thing in common being cleanliness. Paul has converted an old barn into half his living quarters and half a 3-bedroom rental completely kitted out with tasteful Ikea furnishings. Honestly, if Ikea was ever looking for a great place to showcase their goods, appliances, fixtures, etc. – they should come see Paul. It’s fresh with clean lines and pops of color in pillows and linens. Comfortable and casual with a working wood stove, we instantly regretted not staying more than one night. The kitchen farmhouse table sits eight at mixed matched chairs with seating for at least that many in the “lounge” area. Upstairs are two full baths, 2 queen-sized and 2 sets of bunks allowing up to eight sleeping as well. He’s got a small backyard and is currently installing a fire pit/seating area, but a big picnic table already beckons sunny afternoons.
It turns out Paul is a transplant from Manchester, UK, who is now the defacto IT specialist advisor for AirBnB in the area along with his local friend Donna who translates when needed. I met them on their way back from a consultation in the village with another owner who is clearly much older. As she popped her white head out the door, I complimented her with a tre bon – very nice – for allowing me to take photos of the exquisite garden and curb appeal.
Paul had offered me a photogenic routing suggestion which sent me through the village of perhaps 30 houses and up a short lane to capture the yellow fields of canola with horses in the foreground and yet another sweet old farm. As we depart Guiberol midday we were reminded of the Wisconsin cheese commercials with rolling green fields, black & white cows, and big fluffy clouds. Idyllic.